Good evening and Happy New Year!
I hope that after the fun and excitement of the New Year’s party you have spent today at home. I am also on my way home, as I am speaking to you right now. My own home sweet home. The place where I always arrive with feelings of happy exhilaration and peace of mind at the same time. Arriving home means that I have arrived among my own. Have you felt that sense of liberation when you arrive home? We might not be able to name it, but as soon we step over the threshold we are our own true selves in the most genuine way. Home is always warm, even when it has not been heated.
This New Year, our beloved Estonia will have been independent for one hundred years. National independence can also be seen as a kind of homecoming for a nation. It inspires all the same feelings, don’t you think? To be free and among our own. To do as we please and to arrange everything as we see fit. To help and to love each other. To dream and sometimes also to feel sad.
I would like to start our centenary year with a special greeting to all the people who are older than the Republic of Estonia. I am very proud to say that there are 130 such venerable people among us. Happy New Year to you! We are proud of you, so very proud! Just one more month and 24 days, and the Republic of Estonia will catch up with you. Please know how much we appreciate you all.
People who have children my age. Your childhood and early years must have been so beautiful and joyous. To have been young in the young Republic of Estonia. But the cruel destiny afflicted your generation with the worst years of our history. Yet, despite all that, you kept Estonia in your hearts and raised us to love and to honour it. You can be proud – the Republic of Estonia is free again, and will soon be one hundred years old. Thank you so very much!
My peers, we were born in a country that was full of falsehood and deception. The stories our parents told us about the free Estonia sounded like a fairy tale that would never come true again. We hated the regime, we made fun of it. I recently found myself wondering whether the younger generation even knows that celebrating Christmas back then entailed a certain risk. And although we had times when everything seemed hopeless, the walls did finally collapse and the iron curtain was pulled down. And it was been a joy to proudly start again in our own country. Would you not agree?
Today, the young people who were born after the restoration of our independence are already raising children of their own. For them, living in a free country as a free citizen is the most natural thing – the only thing they can imagine. And that is wonderful. This is how it should be and how it must remain for the next hundreds of years.
Happy New Year, dear Estonia!
This is our home and no one can take it away from us.
Long live the hero of the day!
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